(Last Updated on : 20/07/2011)
Brahmin Caste in India refers to the class of educators, law makers, scholars, priests and preachers of Dharma in Hinduism
. The concept of Brahmin caste had started from the Vedic times. Brahmins are the members of the highest of the four varnas.
History of Brahmin Caste in India
According to Hindu mythology Brahmins are the creations of Lord Brahma
, god of knowledge and education. According to the European ideologists of the 19th century, Brahmins are believed to be a part of the Aryan migrants from Iran, eastern Eurasia or central Asia.
Types of Brahmin Caste in India
The Brahmin caste in India has been broadly divided into two divisions based on regions. They are Pancha-Gauda Brahmins from north India and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins from the southern part of India.
The Pancha-Gauda Brahmins on the other hand have further been divided into five classes. They are (1) Saraswat brahmins
, (2) Kanyakubja
, (3) Maithili Brahmins, (4) Gauda
brahmins, and (5)Utkala Brahmins.
The five classes of Panch Dravida Brahmins are namely 1) Andhra, 2) Dravida, 3) Karnataka
, 4) Maharashtra
and Konkon, and 5) Gujarat
Moreover in different states in India the Brahmin caste appears with individual names and individual practices. Some of the well known Brahmin castes in India are Anavil Community
, Andhra Brahmin Community
, Ayyangar Brahmin
, Ayyar Brahmin
, Chitpavan Brahmins
, Deshastha Community
, Karhada Community
, Kashmiri Brahmin Community
and Madhava Community
. Some of the other well known Brahmin castes of India are namely Mohyal Community
, Nagar Brahmins, Rarhi Brahmins, Barendra Brahmins, Dhadich Brahmins, Bhumihar Brahmins and a lot more.
: This community of Brahmins date back to era of Ramayana
. They claim that their lineage is linked to the sages of the Yajur Veda
. They were mostly concentrated in South Gujarat. Here they were known as Desais. They have flourished in administrative services and have also contributed a great deal to in the Indian Nationalist Movement.
Andhra Brahmin Community
: The origin of the Andhra Brahmins can be traced back to the 2nd century BC. This era was considered the period of prosperity. This erudite community proved to be a lot of help as counsels to the ruling class. The Chalukya dynasty
offered them secular services. Today they are concentrated in Andhra Pradesh
. They are also known to be affable and emotional. The impact of the Bhakti Movement
was quite strong on them. The cultural contribution of Andhra Brahmins has been immense. It has been seen that most of the learned philosophers of the country belong to the Brahmin caste.
Ayyangar Brahmi Community
: What sets this community apart from the rest of its Brahmin brethren is that they are follow Ramanuja
's principles. This sage advocated Visishtadvaita. Mostly the Ayyangars speak in Tamil Language. This community has also been witness to the Bhakti cult. They are generally quite orthodox about their religion and social set up. On the other hand they are also considered one of the most talented Brahmin communities.
: The biggest Brahmin community in South India constitutes of the Ayyars. They are mainly concentrated in Kerala
and Tamil Nadu
. They are in love with their age old traditions and customs. Indian literature is indebted to this community for their literary contribution. The lifestyle of the Ayyars is quite disciplined too.
: This particular community belongs to Maharashtra
. Their origin is steeped into legends. Historically it was during the Maratha rule that they came into prominence. Several well known people belong to this community. They are also popular for their contribution in the nationalist struggle.
: The region around the Krishna and the Godavari rivers and plateau of the Sahyadri Hills are hailed as the birth land of the Deshastha Brahmins. Today they are to be found in the Deccan region. They have settled in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh
. Blessed with intellect and good looks they are also known for their love of spirituality.
: This community, too, is to be found in Maharashtra. Their faith in the Mother Goddess or Shakti
has helped them all kinds of impediments. As result festivals, such as, Navaratri
is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm. The community is further divided into several sub divisions.
: As their name suggests they have originated from the valley of Kashmir. Till date they have successfully stuck to their Vedic Aryan root. India has always had some Kashmiri Brahmin or the other to serve her in the form of poets, scholars, statesmen and diplomats.
: Madhava community is the follower of Lord Vishnu or simply, Vaishnavites. They are settled in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra and parts of Maharashtra and are also known as Tuluva Brahmins. They have been influenced greatly by the principles of Madhavacharya
and his Dvaita Philosophy